Before I get on to my time in Donsol I just want to share the saga of the ATM card as these are the little hurdles you will need to jump in order to travel. Just relax and work the problem and all will work out.
So after I leave Joanna, my phone is down to 15% battery, I have 1000 pesos ($20USD) and I have my portable power pack with me but the wrong darn cable!! So what to do, go to the ATM center and try as many ATMs as possible until I hit the jackpot.
So I find the ATM center and there are 8.. count em 8 .. ATM’s to try. So I beeline for the one that I know worked when I was with Armand, wouldn’t you know it, its out of service! So off to the next one with the Plus logo. No dice.. and the next.. no dice.. and the next .. no dice. Now what? Use my dying phone to try and chat with an E*Trade representative via my phone and get this resolved.
So looking like a beggar standing outside the ATM center I frantically try and IM the E*Trade rep who doesn’t take this as any kind of priority and is moving SLLOWWWLY. Eventually I decide I’m in a huge mall there has to be a place to buy a cable with credit and indeed there is. But that too is a trial in patience.. do you have the USB-C cable.. no .. I’m looking at one… Oh.. uhhhh… let me get the key.. yes I $6 cable is hiding behind glass. Then off to another desk where I fill out two forms, hand my credit card over sign three recepts get it stamped as paid by yet another person and then with the sales person up to the front of the store to check out with the security guard. Now I can plug into my battery pack…
But by this time I’ve lost the connection with E*Trade and start again. This time they tell me that there is an issue with Visa that I need to call into the office and get transferred to Visa to straighten the situation out. Finally I convince them I’m in the Philippines and can’t call an 800 number so give me a direct line.
At this point I decide to take a break and get in my Grab Car to get back to my hotel, I’ll call from the taxi. So in the taxi, of course this taxi driver’s VERY FIRST fare and he is a spaz but traffic is insane too. So I finally get on the phone to E*Trade, get through the security questions and they say they have to put me on hold to talk to Visa. Well, wouldn’t you know it while on hold I run out of money on my pre-paid SIM!!
Well challenge number.. shit I don’t know.. I’m getting grumpy now and the driver accuses me of being drunk LOL. But now I have to figure out how to reload my SMART phone card without any minutes. This literally takes me an hour (and I’m still not to hotel) but eventually after 8 (there’s that number again) attempts and three different web sites I succeed in reloading card. At this point I’m at the hotel and head up to my plush room to finish this where I can relax better.
In the room is waiting a bottle of Chardonnay and a HUGE plate of cheese, fruit and nuts. I’m hungry so I tuck in first. Then I kick back on the bed, put on HBO and make the call to E*Trade again. This time I tell them that I need them to call me back as I’m calling internationally, and miraculously they agree. They work through everything and tell me all is fixed. So dressed I get to go to the roof pool and down to the lobby I go to test this.
Guess what…. yup.. not fixed. So call back again and they call me back again and I go walking to find another ATM… around the casino, through the casino in my bathing suit.. then finally another ATM bank. This time they say they really have it figured out and it works… whew! I suck out a serious load of pesos as I know Donsol will have the same problem as Puerto Galera and not be credit friendly.
Finally I make it up to the roof, take a swim and shoot some pictures of the skyline by night before retiring to the comfort of the best bed I’ve slept in yet.
Tomorrow another trip to Donsol.. another story.. ’till then.